By Newsfeed/Al-Jazeera

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Brazilian bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira, according to the Vatican.

Pope Francis and Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira. (Photo Internet reproduction)

The Vatican did not explain in a statement on Friday what prompted the resignation of the bishop who, according to media reports in Brazil, is under investigation for alleged extortion and cover-up of sexual abuse.

In April, the bishop confessed to police that he had taken US$4,000 from parish funds for personal use, telling them he did so because he was having financial difficulties, according to reports.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by a global clerical pedophilia scandal, with victims coming forward in countries ranging from Australia to Chile, Germany, and the U.S.

Pope Francis passed a landmark new measure this month to oblige those who know about sexual abuse in the Church to report it to their superiors, in a move which could bring countless new cases to light.

As a result of the decree, bishops will be held directly accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up.

But crimes admitted during the sacrament of confession will remain exempt from the new church law.

Survivors’ groups have called for the Vatican to make reporting of suspected abuse to police mandatory – but the Vatican says church law cannot override local civil law.

(Source: Al-Jazeera)

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